FAIRFIELD — “We all too often romanticize being the best; it makes a person seem immortal, incapable of failure,” said Zachary Delile, valedictorian at Lawrence High School.

Delile, speaking Thursday night at the Lawrence graduation, was described as “something special” and a “tremendous mathematician” by math teachers Scott Ballard and Lori Laney. Ballard was unable to attend the ceremony, because he was coaching Erskine Academy’s varsity baseball team in the playoffs, so Laney introduced Delile in his place.

Laney referenced many well-known jokes and memories Ballard and herself had shared with the valedictorian, earning many laughs from the large crowd.

“There is beauty in acknowledging the mediocre parts of our person,” said Delile. “It makes you better; it makes you aware.”

The majority of Delile’s speech focused on varying meanings of achievement and success. Multiple times Delile poked fun at himself, earning him many laughs.

Sharing an anecdote about his experience placing last in his first cross-country race, he came full circle and said, “I had a good time taking that bottom spot again in my final cross-country race. It happens to all of us. We all fail. It is what we do. It is how we choose to react to that failure that will really define us.”

Lawrence High School graduated 120 students Thursday evening. However, two students watched remotely due to undisclosed impacts of COVID-19. Lawrence enrolls students from Albion, Benton, Clinton and Fairfield.

The ceremony was held in a traditional manner on the football field. Each student was allowed 10 guests in the closed-off seating, but additional people sat in the bleachers. The event started with seniors Abbie Kneeland and Zoe Williams singing the national anthem.

Students — from left, Connor Grindle, Joshua Medeiros, Justise Damron, Zoe Williams and Abbie Kneeland — pose Thursday as they gather before graduation. Wile indoors, they are required to wear masks. Haley Hersey/Morning Sentinel

Following the distribution of diplomas, usually, a senior tea is held where graduates get a light snack and prepare for project graduation. In order to follow COVID-19 guidelines, a small senior tea was held on the field hockey field. Instead of having project graduation, Lawrence opted for a parade like last year following its homecoming parade route.

“I feel like this year came a lot quicker than others, it might be because COVID,” said Sarah Poli.

Allison Nickerson was appreciative of the ceremony Lawrence provided and said, “It’s exciting, but sad. I’m just glad we can have an actual graduation with family and friends.”

“It’s quite an honor to graduate at Lawrence High School,” said Justice Champagne.

Some students, like twins Cassandra and Victoria Richards, were excited for the opportunity to work more this summer. Others, like Braden Nadeau, had little words to express their excitement.

“I love it,” said Nadeau.

“I’m proud of my class and how they’ve pulled things together,” said Jorja Furchak.

History teacher Tyler Duran introduced the class’ salutatorian, Anna Blomerth. Duran praised Blomerth for the struggles she endured, including two concussions.

Blomerth focused on the positives and memories she made in her high school years. She wrapped up saying, “As for my peers, after the ceremony, I will be leaving to celebrate with my father at his gravesite. If you have the opportunity, tell your loved ones you appreciate them and give them a hug. Although you may find their presence annoying at times, I promise their permanent absence is so much worse. Be thankful for the time you are given.”

“While being inside those doors and the moments leading up to them, I have become a mosaic of everyone I have met,” said Alyssa Bourque, class president. “While our mosaics are far from being complete, I can proudly say Lawrence has beautifully shaped mine. As we have seen, life can change in the blink of an eye, and it can take so long to go back to normal. So go out there and live life.”

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